Safety and security

Crime

Most visits to Mozambique are trouble-free, but street crime, sometimes involving knives and firearms, is common in Maputo and increasing in other cities and tourist destinations. There are some areas in cities which are more dangerous; seek local advice.

Be vigilant at all times. Beaches or offshore islands are not policed. Avoid walking alone at night and don’t display valuables or money. Use a hotel safe if possible. Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night.

There have been reports of carjacking, particularly in Maputo. Keep your car doors locked while driving. Be particularly vigilant when arriving at or leaving residential properties after dark. Avoid driving alone at night.

There have been incidents of car-jackings between Boane and the Swaziland border crossing points of Namaacha and Goba. Be vigilant if you’re travelling by road to Swaziland.

Be extra vigilant and avoid travelling around after dark.

Don’t pick up strangers or stop to help distressed motorists or pedestrians. Hijackers sometimes use these techniques to trick motorists into stopping their vehicle. If in doubt, drive directly to a police station.

Some visitors to Mozambique report being victims of police harassment, including robbery, or requests for bribes. If a police officer threatens you or asks for a bribe, report the incident to the British High Commission.

If you are a victim of any form of crime, contact the local police immediately and get a police report. If your passport is stolen you should also contact the British High Commission and inform the local immigration authorities.

Criminal kidnaps

There have been kidnappings reported in Mozambique, mainly in Maputo. While most victims have been Mozambicans, foreigners have also been targeted.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.

Local travel

All known minefields in Mozambique have been cleared. In the central and southern provinces (Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane, Maputo) mines may still exist in remote areas, away from main routes. Seek advice from district authorities if you’re travelling in these areas.

Road travel

Traffic accidents are common due to the condition of the roads and poor driving and vehicle standards. Always drive carefully and be aware of pedestrians using the roads.

Overland travel on public transport can be hazardous due to poor vehicle and road conditions. If you doubt a vehicle’s condition, make alternative arrangements.

Low-lying areas around major rivers flood regularly during the rainy season (November - April) making many roads impassable. Check local conditions before travelling. Make sure you have emergency supplies, including a first aid kit.

Only travel by road outside Maputo and other major cities during daylight. Where possible, keep to major roads and travel in convoy in rural areas. Fuel is often only available in larger towns.

UK driving licences are valid for up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer you should get an International Driving Permit or apply for a Mozambican licence. It is an offence not to carry your driving licence with you when driving. Be ready to present original car documentation when requested by the police.

Third party insurance cover is compulsory. You can buy this at most land borders. You should carry two reflective triangles and a reflective vest in your vehicle at all times. You must wear the reflective vest when repairing, loading or unloading a vehicle. Police officers sometimes attempt to extract bribes from tourists. Don’t pay a bribe to anyone. If you are stopped by the police, ask for a clear explanation of the offence and a written fine that can be paid at a police station.

Air travel

You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Mozambique.

Until 16 May 2017 all Mozambican airlines were refused permission to operate services to the EU. The EU ban was imposed because the Mozambican regulatory authorities were unable to verify that these airlines complied with international safety standards. The EU operating ban was lifted on 16 May 2017.

Flights operated by the Government-owned airline LAM are prone to cancellation without notice. You should check your flight information between 24 and 48 hours before your scheduled departure.

Sea travel

Recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains significant. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue. The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

Political situation

Protests or demonstrations can occur in the cities with little notice. You should remain vigilant, monitor local media reports, avoid large crowds and carry ID with you at all times. Make sure you have a means of communication with you at all times and that your mobile phone is charged.